When we planned our new kitchen, we knew that it would be a lovely light, bright space. Now that we’re well in to spring and the days are sunnier and longer, we’re really feeling the benefit of this! We knew that we’d have to get some blinds for the windows, and found one for the front one no problem (we just got a cream Venetian one, so it matches the front window in the living room). But the back windows are a little trickier – we used to have a roller blind in the existing window, but fitting something over the new door and window would be tough as there isn’t a lot of space. And I really wanted them to match, so it meant one thing: having a go at making them!
It needed to be something that wasn’t bulky at the top, and we also wanted to retain as much light as possible so it needed to be fairly thin. Our old roller blind was a blackout blind, and we didn’t really want anything like that this time. I remembered that my parents used to have some net curtains on extendable rods that sat on little hooks, and this seemed like it would be the perfect thing. I had a look online and found these in Homebase (there are various lengths, which is helpful – although we did need to exchange one because the hooks add about half a centimetre in length on to each end, so bear that in mind!). The blinds for the door and small window either need to be up or down, so I decided that I’d make some ties to tie them up. The larger window is in front of the sink and I like to look out when I’m washing up, so longer ties would be needed on this one. These are roll-up blinds (not roller blinds) so you have to roll them up by hand. Although this sounds a bit faffsome, it isn’t really – they take no time at all to tie up.
You will need
Fabric – I used 2 metres of white premium Kona cotton from Plush Addict
Fabric paints – I used 3 colours and got them from my local art shop
A paint brush
Sticky back vinyl – you can pick up a roll of this cheaply in Wilkinsons
A cutting mat and craft knife (or scalpel)
Sharp scissors and a rotary cutter
Bias binding – I used just under 5 metres of 25mm binding, and it was easier to buy pre-bought
Dowel – for the length of each blind
Measure the inside of your window, making sure that you take measurements at the window itself (i.e. not at the wall). Cut your fabric to size, adding on an inch at the top and at the bottom, as well as each side, to allow for hemming. I used my rotary cutter to do this so that it would be neat.
Make your stencil out of the vinyl – you can draw the design on the back and then cut it out if you like. I just made some triangle shapes, so it was easy to do freehand.
Take your fabric and peel off the backing from one of the stencils, before sticking it on to the fabric where you want the shape to be. You’ll have to check the instructions on your fabric paint, but I needed to paint and then let it dry a little before ironing to fix it.
I decided to use one colour for each of my three stencils, and found that the easiest thing to do was to paint one shape then hang the fabric out on the line to dry, before fixing and then moving on to the next colour. This did involve a lot of running around between inside and outside, but I think that I ended up with neater shapes and well-fixed shapes because of it! I kept the triangles fairly far apart, and I like the simplicity of the design.
Once the fabric is painted, you can construct the blinds.
Fold and press the side seams to the correct width of your window. Pin in place and stitch along each edge.
Next, place your extending rod at the top of the fabric to work out where the top hem needs to be. Fold over enough fabric to allow the rod to pass through freely, and then pin in place. Don’t stitch just yet!
Take your bias binding and press it in half. Stitch all the way along to secure it, close to the edge. This will form the ties for the blinds, which need to be measured to check the length. Roll up your blind as if you were going to tie it up and place some of the binding underneath (see below). You need to work out how long each tie needs to be to be able to tie it up comfortably – for me, this worked out as 55cm long for the door and little window, and 125cm long for the large window. Remember that you need to make two ties for each blind! Pin each one where you want it to be, then remove the rod.
Stitch along the edge of the hem at the top, securing the ties in place as you go. At this point, you might want to hang the blind to be able to measure where the bottom hem needs to go, before pressing and stitching that in place. Once you’ve done that, put your dowel in the bottom hem and the blinds are ready to hang!
It was really tough to get a decent photo of the blinds – taking photos of a window is difficult! The one above will give you some idea of how much light we have even with the blinds down. You can probably tell that this was taken on a really sunny day! (Sorry about the bin in the photo…). I took a few once it had got dark, so hopefully you’ll get a better idea of what they’re like from these:
This is the blind for the larger window – it’s easy to roll it up to the middle. Not sure if we’ll ever need to roll it right up, which is good because I can’t reach!
This project turned out even better than I thought it would in my head, and it’s brilliant to still have the light during the day without the glare of the sun bouncing off all the glossy units in the kitchen! You could apply the painting and stencilling techniques to any project, as it’s really easy and fun to do. Have you made anything for your house recently?